Detroit Lions: Biggest needs leading up to the draft

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: (L-R) Taylor Decker of Ohio State holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: (L-R) Taylor Decker of Ohio State holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked /

The Detroit Lions are almost complete signing free agents with only a few areas left to address. The next big signings are coming from the draft.

It hasn’t been much of a free agent frenzy with the Detroit Lions. Instead of making sound waves through the tabloids, they’ve been quite. Most of the signings are depth players with the potential to really contribute and fill out the roster at a bargain price.

9-7 was the Lions’ record in 2017 and they don’t look much different. General manager Bob Quinn and company are putting a major focus on the draft, as they should. 2018 is a year of high expectations, so to keep that arrow trending up, they need to kill it in the draft.

Roadgrading offensive guard

T.J .Lang isn’t getting any younger as the starter at guard. Better known for pass blocking, he’s a more natural fit is at left guard. A younger guy who can help jumpstart the terrible run blocking is a must have.

This draft class is fairly deep at guard and center but the starters are going fast. With already two starters on the offensive line free agent additions from 2017, the Lions can complete the unit with a rookie acquisition.

Potential solutions: Will Hernandez (Texas-El Paso), Isaiah Wynn (Georgia), Braden Smith (Auburn), James Daniels (Iowa), Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)

Pass rushing defensive tackle

Recently signed defensive tackle Sylvester Williams is a run-stuffer only. Detroit has a solid group of guys but none are real disruptors at the point of attack.

The Lions need a player who specializes in collapsing pockets and making stops behind the line of scrimmage. With the pickings slim and little cap space remaining, the draft is the perfect place to look.

Potential solutions: Maurice Hurst (Michigan), Taven Bryan (Florida), Harrison Phillips (Stanford), Tim Settle (Virginia Tech), Jojo Wicker (Arizona State)

Explosive edge rushing linebacker

Detroit did some work via free agency by signing Devon Kennard but he isn’t a pure edge rusher. This position group has plenty of edge rushers but they are more of the defensive end types.

With a lot more 3-4 fronts being used in 2018. The Lions need that player who can make an impact behind the line of scrimmage in a two-point stance but can float in coverage when needed. The draft is the obvious way to go.

Potential solutions: Harold Landry (Boston College), Lorenzo Carter (Georgia), Hercules Mata’afa (Washington State), Jeff Holland (Auburn)

Next: Detroit Lions - Draft looms large after free agency flurry

Home run hitting running back

This unit looks well, especially once the bruising LeGarrette Blount signed. Impressive and well diverse, it’s still missing a running back that can out-race opponents to the end zone.

Free agency was already used to fill in this area, so now the draft is the next place the Lions are going. It’s a top-heavy running back class and theirs only a few options that have that breakaway speed.

Potential solutions: Derrius Guice (Louisiana State), Ronald Jones (Southern California), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), Kalen Ballage (Arizona State), Nyheim Hines (North Carolina State)